I knew a bit about the dodgy dealings in the diamond industry before going to see this movie. My wife in fact does not wear a diamond on her finger; her engagement ring is adorned with a moissanite. But having now seen Blood Diamond there's even more going on than I had realised. I'd recommend you go and see it. For a few reasons... first and foremost (because this is a movie review) it's a GREAT piece of cinema. Incredible performances from Honsou and de Caprio. Best actor material for both of them. To those who've not seen the film and are wary of Leonardo's South African accent, I know a lot of South Africans, and while I haven't heard their opinion, I thought he did a bang-up job. Both of their characters are totally convincing, and the movie is very well made.
Second reason (because this is not just a movie review), it's important. Just like Hotel Rwanda was important, this film shows a side of things that many people are oblivious to. In case you're not aware of anything in the movie, or anything about the crooked crooked diamond industry, I'll give you a few choice morsels:
- The price of diamonds is controlled. When a new oil deposit or gold deposit is found, the price for that item will fluctuate. Supply has theoretically increased which drives the price down, which can generate more interest, potentially driving the price up. Diamonds, however are controlled. De Beers controls a massive amount of the world's gem diamond industry, which allows them to keep costs regulated (high). I don't know whether this is true, but the movie exposes the possible use of diamond warehousing in order to stop the market from being flooded with diamonds. Price fixing, my friends.
- Diamond mines have historically used slave labour to dig out the stones. We can probably assume that this still happens in some places, though I hope not.
- What this movie focusses on, is the issue of conflict diamonds. The occurance of war around diamond deposits, in this movie specifically regarding Sierra Leone, and the civil war that raged around the diamond mines.
This will sound idealistic, but lately I've been thinking about what it would take for me to become a rich philanthropist, and do what I can to help out in Africa financially. For my part now, I'll stay away from earth-dug diamonds. Synthetic diamonds are being produced more readily now (and they're not fake diamonds, they're identical to earth-dug diamonds), and moissanite has been readily available for some time. For your part, go see Blood Diamond, and bookmark Doctors Without Borders.